WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial could begin on inauguration day, just as Democrat Joe Biden is sworn in to put an extraordinary end to the defeated president’s tenure in the White House.
The timing and timing of the trial is largely set by Senate procedures and will begin as soon as the House releases the indictment article. That could mean starting the trial at 1 p.m. on the day of the inauguration. The ceremony at the Capitol begins at noon.
Trump was impeached by the House on Wednesday following the murderous siege of the Capitol, the only president in US history to be impeached twice, after a pro-Trump mob stormed the building . The attack left the nation’s capital, and other named capitals, under tight security amid threats of more violence surrounding the inauguration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not say when she would take the next step to forward the impeachment article, a single charge of inciting insurgency. Some senior Democrats have offered to withhold the article to give Biden and Congress time to focus on the priorities of his new administration.
Biden said the Senate should be able to split his time and do both.
The impeachment trial will be the first for a president who is no longer in office. And, politically, it will force a count among some Republicans who have supported Trump throughout his presidency and widely allowed him to propagate false attacks on the integrity of the 2020 election.
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell is ready to consider impeachment, after telling associates he’s done with Trump, but has not indicated how he would vote.
Calling the trial will be among his final acts as majority leader, as two new Georgia senators, both Democrats, are due to be sworn in upon leaving the 50-50 split chamber. This tilts the majority towards Democrats once Kamala Harris takes office because the Vice President is a tiebreaker.
In a note to colleagues on Wednesday, McConnell said he had “not made a final decision on how I will vote” in a Senate impeachment trial.
With the Capitol secured by armed National Guard troops inside and out, the House voted on Wednesday 232-197 to impeach Trump. The process went at lightning speed, with lawmakers voting just a week after violent pro-Trump loyalists stormed Capitol Hill, prompted by the president’s calls to “fight like hell” against the election results.
Ten Republicans have fled Trump, joining Democrats who have said he must be held accountable and worryingly warned of a “clear and present danger” if Congress were to leave him unchecked before Democrat Joe Biden’s inauguration January 20. times, more than against Bill Clinton in 1998.
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The Capitol uprising stunned and angered lawmakers, who were sent to seek safety as the crowds descended, and it exposed the fragility of the national history of peaceful transfers of power.
Pelosi invoked Abraham Lincoln and the Bible, imploring lawmakers to keep their oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, foreigners “and nationals.”
She said of Trump: “He must go, he poses a clear and present danger to the nation we all love.”
Held in the White House, watching the proceedings on television, Trump then released a video statement in which he made no mention of impeachment, but called on his supporters to refrain from anything else …
- According to the source Trump impeachment trial could begin on Inauguration Day.
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